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POLITICS: White House

American POW released from Afghanistan after five years in captivity

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White House,The Pentagon,Barack Obama,Army,Afghanistan,National Security,Guantanamo Bay,Bowe Bergdahl

The only American soldier who has been held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan has been released after five years and is in U.S. custody as part of a prisoner exchange, the Associated Press reported Saturday.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of Idaho is being exchanged for five Afghan prisoners whom the U.S. has been holding at Guantanamo Bay, AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace reported Saturday afternoon on Twitter. The five Afghanis are being turned over to the government of Qatar.

"On behalf of the American people, I was honored to call [Bergdahl's] parents to express our joy that they can expect his safe return, mindful of their courage and sacrifice throughout this ordeal," President Obama said in a statement. "Today we also remember the many troops held captive and whom remain missing or unaccounted for in America’s past wars. Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery is a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield."

Bergdahl's release comes just days after Obama announced a plan to formally end the war in Afghanistan and bring all U.S. troops home from that nation by 2016.

The following is the complete text of President Obama's statement Saturday:

Today the American people are pleased that we will be able to welcome home Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, held captive for nearly five years. On behalf of the American people, I was honored to call his parents to express our joy that they can expect his safe return, mindful of their courage and sacrifice throughout this ordeal. Today we also remember the many troops held captive and whom remain missing or unaccounted for in America’s past wars. Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery is a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield. And as we find relief in Bowe’s recovery, our thoughts and prayers are with those other Americans whose release we continue to pursue.

For his assistance in helping to secure our soldier's return, I extend my deepest appreciation to the Amir of Qatar. The Amir’s personal commitment to this effort is a testament to the partnership between our two countries. The United States is also grateful for the support of the Government of Afghanistan throughout our efforts to secure Sergeant Bergdahl’s release.

This week the United States renewed its commitment to the Afghan people and made clear that we will continue to support them as their chart their own future. The United States also remains committed to supporting an Afghan-led reconciliation process as the surest way to achieve a stable, secure, sovereign, and unified Afghanistan. While we are mindful of the challenges, it is our hope Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery could potentially open the door for broader discussions among Afghans about the future of their country by building confidence that it is possible for all sides to find common ground.

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